My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Blood Oath is an interesting and fairly refreshing variation on the vampire riff. Most of the current tales give us a suave, sexy predator who mesmerizes his or her prey, leaving humans pining for their presence. They might even fall in love with a human. Nathaniel Cade, however, refers to humans as food, saying, “Would you have sex with a cow?” That makes much more sense to me. It’s a good thing he isn’t interested, either, as the typical reaction people have to encountering him is utter panic, often involving the loss of bladder control.
Cade is definitely a predator, though—an extremely effective one. Farnsworth attempts to explain his abilities scientifically, rather than mystically (I’d classify this book as science fiction if I had to choose a genre, whereas most books featuring vampires and similar creatures are fantasy or horror). The same is true of the enemies he faces.
While I’m not generally interested in socio-political thrillers (which is what this book was, other than a story about a vampire who works for the president), I did enjoy the fresh take on an old trope. While I normally groan when I see the first book from a new author billed as the beginning of a series (do publishers even buy single books any more?), I’m somewhat pleased this time. I do wish they’d been a little more careful with the name of the series (The President’s Vampire), as there’s another book with the same name: The President’s Vampire: Strange-but-True Tales of the United States of America by Robert Damon Schneck. Then again, if Farnsworth’s book or series takes off, I suppose there’s a chance that sales of Schneck’s will as well. I’m sure he wouldn’t complain about that at all. I’ve put it on my to-read list, after all.
I hope to talk my partner, Sam, into reading Blood Oath. If I do, it’ll be fairly miraculous, as I don’t recall him anything with dragons or werewolves in it other than Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files for most of the time that I’ve known him (12 years as of this writing). After his years at White Wolf, I think many books seem more than slightly derivative. He also did so much research before working on books he wrote for them (like The Book of Nod) that he got a little burned out on certain subjects. Farnsworth’s approach really is different enough that I think he might give it a chance. Will you?